Article by: Sydney Rush
Photos by: Melanie Allen
Los Angeles band Local Natives graced the Emo’s stage for the 101x Indie Work Force Xmas which was a sold out show and with good reason. The band played both weekends of ACL this year but never came through Austin during their tour outside of the festival scene. Thursday night’s show marked their last show of 2016.
Austin band Calliope Musicals opened up for the night and got the crowd in the perfect energy for the headlining act. The band claims their genre as Psychedelic Party Folk which is probably the most accurate description. With smiley face cut outs, glittery props, dancing guys in animal onesies, and an alien with laser eyes, this band was nothing short of unique! Carrie Fussell shocked the crowd with an extremely powerful voice to sing an array of songs with lyrics sprinkled with positivity. You can find Calliope Musicals gracing the stages all over Austin during free week and can also pick up their latest album Time Owes You Nothing (2016) on iTunes and Spotify.
Indie rock band Local Natives came on right on time at 9 pm and started the show with “Past Lives,” a song off of their new album, Sunlit Youth (2016) which was released in September. The audience was immediately hyped up to a new level. It was pretty clear that this band has an extremely loyal fan base. The line for the show started at 8pm began to form early Thursday morning in order to secure a good spot in the crowd.
Throughout the show singers Kelcey Ayer and Taylor Rice switched off leading the band in song and harmonizing to perfection. Early in the set, “Villainy,” was played and the crowd was asked to dance, and dance they did. The energy of the crowd only heightened as the song went on and the second Taylor Rice jumped into the crowd to dance along, all sanity was lost. By doing this the personal connection between the band and the audience became really close. Shortly after, the band went on to talk about how Austin had such a huge impact on who they have become as a band thanks to small shows during SXSW in years past. They thanked the Austin audience for always being so supportive and called the city their “home away from home.” Followed by this gracious gesture they played “Airplanes’” a song off their first album, Gorilla Manor (2009).
With an extremely diverse set list, the arrangement of songs was perfect for the old and new fans. Toward the end of the set, Kelcey and Taylor so graciously played a truly intimate rendition of “Columbia,” which is featured on their sophomore album Hummingbird (2013). This song had the audience silent and as soon as it ended they erupted into applause due to the beautiful performance. As the second to last song, the band played “Fountain of Youth,” which is also on Sunlit Youth. Preceding the performance of “Fountain of Youth,” the band took time to assure the audience that no matter the outcome of certain things (the election) we still have a chance to make a change as young people in the country. Following that they spoke on a line in the song which reads “I have waited so long Mrs. President,” and made it very clear that this line is still very possible. This little tangent sent the audience into an emotional yet hopeful trance which only made the song that much better.
For their encore, Local Natives played two more songs which were “Mother Emmanuel,” from Sunlit Youth and ended the show with “Sun Hands,” from Gorilla Manor. Per usual, Taylor took the opportunity to join the crowd one more time during their last song and had an epic stage dive to wrap up the night and the year.